If All You Had Left Was Your Heart, Would You Give it to Your Enemy? The Du Lac Chronicles by @marya
Title: The Du Lac Chronicles, Book 1
Author: Mary Anne Yarde
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Medieval
AD 495, Wessex, Briton
If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.
The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.
Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.
To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
King Arthur (Pendragon) is long gone and Briton is shattered into warring kingdoms. King Cerdic of Wessex is determined to be high king of all kingdoms. He’s just defeated King Alden of Cerniw, son of Lancelot, and whipped him within an inch of his life. Death can’t come quick enough for Alden but then an angel rescues him on the eve of his execution.
Annis can’t stand by and watch her father butcher the man she’s loved for years. She sacrifices everything she’s ever known to save a man who doesn’t care about her. Or does he?
The two flee in secret and what happens next is a journey of discovering who to trust, who to love and what happens when you give your heart to your enemy. When they make their plea to Budic, the King of Brittany, will Budic turn them away or will they stand together against the enemy, Lord Cerdic of Wessex?
Set in the harsh landscape of 5th century Briton, The Du Lac Chronicles, Book 1 is one of the best Medieval books I’ve had the pleasure to read since The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I was captivated from the first page until the very last. I was saddened when it ended. Annis and Alden became a part of me and in all honesty, I dreamed about the book twice. I was swept up in their struggles to escape death, their attraction to one another and the harsh realities of what their future will be.
Mary Anne paints a clear picture of life in war-torn Briton and the historical accuracy only made it more real for me. Everything from the dress worn by the characters to the dialogue to the portrayal of real historical figures to the harshness of life made this book shine. The grief and guilt Alden feels for losing his kingdom tugged at my heart. Annis is a heroine I love because she’s not afraid to speak the truth and rescue those she loves. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series.
If you love historical fiction with dashes of romance, please pick up this book. Fans of Arthurian fiction will love this as well.
… not named Annis or Alden has got to be Merton. He’s Alden’s brother and they are very close. They have a bond that grows stronger with time and when secrets are revealed, my heart broke for Merton. He’s a tortured soul, in more ways than I can count, but there’s no question if I was in battle, I’d want him protecting me. Best thing about Merton is his one-liners, especially his encounter with King Cerdic of Wessex.
“Alden closed his eyes and breathed deeply. She had won. Cerdic had captured his lands and now Annis had conquered his heart. The battle was over.”
My Rating: 5+ stars
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Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.
Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Reviewed by: Mrs. N